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In to Paint is to Love Again I showed the start of the painting. I started with high ambition that it will work well but I end with a self-critical kicking as I see where it is failing. I am somewhat embarrassed that, this time, it is entirely because of my monomaniac focus on colour and not enough on the preparatory drawing that is the cause.

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Drawing #5 California Poppy. Oil Pastel on paper 1 metre square

Oh there were plenty of drawings in both sketch book and on paper. There were photographs too. The large format oil pastels drawing culminated in one exploring the colour of the California Poppy, drawing no. 5 in this metre square series. I thoroughly enjoyed making the drawing and I think they were all very successful. All the drawings have worked for me so I started the painting optimistic that I had sorted everything. Alas I hadn’t.

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Detail of drawing #5

Someone once explained that line is a locus of a point moving through space. A surface is the locus of a line moving through space, and a solid is the locus of a surface moving through space. With me the image is dislocated from the colour showing how the colour in painting defines the space and using the dislocation to play with the traditional idea of painting as an illusion of objects, a 2d representation of 3d or 4d space.

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Detail of Drawing #5 California Poppy

Unfortunately whilst all the drawing was strong in working out a great deal about the colour relationships I forgot a fundamental that colour has edge. In previous paintings I have made the drawing strong so that the edge of the colour played with the edge of the image. Here I allowed my self-indulgence with the colour to create edges I didn’t mean. Add this to the weak drawing and whilst bits of the painting work, overall the result lacks the clarity and simplicity that I think the image needs to carry the ambiguities of colour and space in a coherent visual framework.

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California Poppy. Acrylic on cavas. 3250mm square

Here the ambiguity of the drawing multiplies the ambiguity of the colour. I have allowed the original image to slip away, to escape the processing. Needing time and application to draw effectively, I backed away from the tough drawing I needed to do, indulged my desire, my impatience, to begin painting. I need to step back on the next painting to make sure I go forward purposefully. One step back for two forwards.

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Deatail of painting California Poppy

Drawing #6 will explore the colour – that thread stays intact, but the hard discipline of line drawing needs to be faced full on to distil the image I want of the painting, and to make sure it holds the colour in balance. This may also allow me to get the scale right too as in this painting I think the scale is also wrong, perhaps too small. There are bits that work though, and the finished piece does carry some of the feel of the original photograph. Yet it falls short of where I wanted to be.

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Plenty of material here in the garden for more colour exploration

Halfway through I think I knew all this. I paused and wrote  He Who Hesitates is Lost the black clouds were a good representation of how I felt/feel. I need to crack on past this point. I have to move forward once more, away from this place that puts the pain into painting